Highland Creates Retreat for Moroccan Workers

Thanks to the creative vision of Highland’s Global Missions Ministry Group, CEI-retreat-01a training and healing retreat took place last weekend in Morocco for exhausted and traumatized students who work with refugees from across Africa who are stuck in Morocco. Highland also mobilized other Kentucky churches to fund the cost of the retreat for the workers from around Morocco.

The retreat affirmed volunteer teams, renewed their energy, and gave them tools to sustain the invaluable work they do.

We will offer more stories from this retreat in future newsletters, but the following is from Phileena Heuertz, who along with husband Chris, are the co-founders of Gravity: A Center for Contemplative Action, the group hired by Highland to facilitate the three-day retreat.

“What an incredible time in Ifrane. Honored to support these leaders from all over Africa in the integration of contemplation and action. Their emergency aid work among an exploding population of refugees in Morocco is extraordinary. These folks are at the center of the migration of people—where South meets North and East meets West. We all have a lot to learn from these folks about how to respond to our global refugee crisis. May we exchange scarcity for abundance & fear for love.”

I’m in awe of their courageous and selfless service among refugees. Integrating contemplation and action has never been more inspiring. In light of all the hate and violence in our world, I’ve never believed more whole-heartedly that change is possible. Contemplation opens the wellspring to a life of enduring hope and limitless love. Let’s heal our world, together.”

Please continue to pray for our friends and partners in Morocco as they offer aid and hope to “the least of these.”

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A note from Karen Thomas Smith:

Dear Highland Baptist friends,

Your partners in Morocco, the Comité d’Entreaide International (Refugee and Migrant ministry) of the Protestant Church  in Morocco, wish to thank you sincerely and deeply for having provided us with this important time of retreat with Phileena and Chris Heuertz. I had no idea how our African crowd would respond to the invitation to contemplative prayer, and I  was surprised at how well the group received these gifts of new practices of praying. This was largely due to the credibility of Chris and Phileena’s testimony, that they learned the need for contemplation because of their own social ministry and to their ability to speak “evangelical” very well. They are both deeply committed to Christ, and our group could feel that. Hery from Oujda said this was the first time we had had a retreat that was a real retreat. Freddy (a now-legalised migrant  himself) from Fès said that this year’s retreat has a distinctly different tone from last year’s even in our business discussions, “There were no useless debates. The comments were calm and constructive.”

We know this was a costly gift for you to give. We pray that you know that it was like the broken bottle of nard that bathed over us and gave us blessing—grace and peace. With much love,  ~ Karen